Wednesday March 24
Scripture: John 20:29
Beads of sweat trickled down my forehead as I cut the grass. My mind raced like the blade on the lawnmower. The thought whirling through my brain was definitely a difficult question: Where do I really stand in God’s sight? The more I pondered, the less confident I was of my ranking. The competition was stiff: Abraham, Moses, David, and onward. At this rate, the bottom of the totem pole would be a welcome spot.
As the last blade of grass fell and the mower’s engine silenced, I remembered a verse. Jesus said, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
Prayer: God, I believe in you. Thank you for caring about me. Amen.
Wayne Kersey, 1982
Thursday March 25
Scripture: Colossians 3:17
On the evening news recently, there was a segment on the progress of [first mechanical] heart transplant patient, Barney Clark. The surgeon was discussing some of the many ethical and moral decisions that surrounded his care. Among these was the question of whether or not Barney would have to decide if his fight for life was worth the struggle. The piece led me to think about the enormity of such a decision from many different perspectives – as a person, as a doctor, and as a Christian.
As a person, I thought about the difficult time that I have trying to decide something as trivial as what to prepare for a special meal – or even an ordinary one! How could I possibly face the decision of whether or not I wanted to go on living with the physical limitations of someone like Barney Clark?
From the view of a doctor, I thought about the profound effect such an experiment was an artificial heart transplant would have on the medical community forevermore. Would I be willing to accept the responsibility for such an experiment with all its ramifications?
As a Christian, we must then add to our personal and professional decisions the added dimension of Christ’s principles. To choose Christ’s way in this high-tech society of our is most often perplexing. But we must call on His boundless strength and guidance to meet that challenge.
Prayer: Lord, help me as one individual in your vast plan, to choose your way in my decisions.
Norma Newbrough, 1983
Friday March 26
There are times when God tries to grab our attention so that we can enjoy life and marvel at His power.
Sometimes, He will create a beautiful spring day complete with flowers and birds. Sometimes we even notice His effort.
Other times, God will paint the trees a thousand different hues. All we have to do is look up, anywhere around, and we can’t help but notice His majesty. Alas, all too often we don’t life our eyes form the path of our troubles.
But God doesn’t give up on us. He will, when needed, call upon winter to reach us. With a bat of His eye, God sends piles of soft, white snow. This silent blanket makes us stop. We can’t busily jet from place to place, problem to problem. We are forced to pause, to notice, to give God the respect due Him. After this pause the only other thing we can do is play in the new wonderland as children, children of a loving God.
Andy Fry, 1990
Saturday March 27
Every morning when I wake up, I’m consciously or unconsciously looking for a reason to get up and find a pathway to happiness. I yearn to see something inspirational, find something positive, or envision a way I can make a difference within the next 24 hours. It seems inconsequential but it the reason to get motivated every day.
I wonder when I’ll realize that God has assured us, time after time, day after day, that the answer is within the Bible and His word. He says to not worry about the past or future, He will take care of us if we accept His love and forgiveness. The lilies of the field and the feathers of each bird are under His wing. He will see us through every difficulty and trial, make a difference every day, and oversee encounters with others every day. I can revel in a hug from a child, a smile from a co-worker who knows I understand, or expend patience and acceptance towards someone I don’t know. The motivation for happiness and fulfillment isn’t a tomorrow thing with conditions; it’s a today thing with acceptance of our inadequacies, God’s forgiveness, and the promise that you can make a difference in His world today.
Prayer: Dear God, open our ears to hear your word.
Karen Kersey, 2006
Sunday March 28 Palm Sunday
Scripture: Matthew 16:13 “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, Who do you say I am?”
People throughout the time since Jesus’ life have referred to Him using many different terms: Prophet, Savior, Healer, Teacher, and other names. All are appropriate but the one I think of that most closely fits is Teacher. Since I have spent my working years in public education and have encountered the work of many teachers, it is apparent to me that no calling is more important than that of a teacher to the well-being of society. In a sense we are all teachers when we help children or when we help others by showing them how things work or how they ought to be done.
There is, therefore, the study of the life of Jesus as a teacher that should be the main emphasis of our religious studies and efforts. It is through his precepts and parables, his instruction and his advice that we gain insight into how our lives should be lived as Christians.
Prayer: Pause for a moment and reflect upon one or more of the great teachers you have had that influenced your life, and thank God for that life or those lives and remember the greatest Teacher of all time.
David Koontz, 2008
Monday March 29
How many days have I started with a list of things to get accomplished? Then I look back at day’s end and realize most of my list is still left undone. I spend too much time being angry when I realize I’ve lost focus and become distracted from my goals. It takes discipline and a sense of purpose to zero in on our work or dreams in order to fulfill them.
Even in the last days before he was arrested, and even while he recognized he was fated to die – perhaps an ultimate distraction! – Jesus would not be deterred from caring for people in need. We read in Luke 13 that Jesus was warned, but he refused to abandon his mission. He was going to do the work of the day, the work God had sent him to do, even as Jesus was aware of the storm gathering around him in the turbulent city.
Jesus models for us a way to maintain our course when voices around us are calling out loudly with alternatives: by focusing on doing God’s work one day at a time. Jesus is calm, secure in God’s love, despite the clamor around him. We cannot always block out the noise of the world, but we can have faith that we will be provided for, protected, and loved each day.
Prayer: Lord, help us to maintain our focus on you. Let us feel your love and know what you have called us to do. Help us to not be distracted from that calling and do your will. Amen.
Greg Belcher, 2006
Tuesday, March 30
Scripture: Colossians 4:6
Our attitudes are contagious. If we are optimistic and upbeat, we’ll spread optimism wherever we go. But if we fall prey to pessimism and doubt, our friends and loved ones will suffer right along with us.
Are you fully aware of the power of your words? The words you speak and the tone you use have the power to lift others up or to bring them down.
You have the power to be a source of encouragement to your loved ones, and they need that kind of encouragement. So remember the words of Lydia Maria Child, author and social reformer who said, “An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.”
So then, let us start lifting. Do something every day that makes someone else happy.
Bill and Fran Casto, 2011
Wednesday March 31
Scripture: “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9
This Lenten Season has begun and is now ending! One question I have for you today is What will this Lenten experience teach you for the rest of your life? Think about the day Christ comes. There you are in the great circle of the redeemed… but it is as if you and Jesus are all alone. I’m speculating now, but I wonder if Christ might say these words to you: “I’m so proud that you let me use you. Because of you, others are here today. Would you like to meet them?”
At that point Jesus might turn to the crowd and invite them. One by one, they begin to step out and walk forward. The first is your neighbor, a crusty old sort who lived next door. To be frank, you didn’t expect to see him. “You never knew I was watching,” he explains, “but I was. And because of you, I am here.”
It’s not long before you and your Savior are encircled by the delightful collection of souls you’ve touched. Some you know, most you don’t, but for each you feel the same. You feel what Paul felt: “I’m so proud of your faith.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
What’s the point of Lent? It’s to get us closer to Christ and stronger in our walk of faith for eternity. Forget giving up those sweets! Really sacrifice something that will help feed your soul and feed someone else in the long run! Christ sacrificed his life – not sweets or soda but his LIFE – for us!
Will people step forward in heaven because of your faith?
What can you do to share Christ with others?
Pastor Richie McNeil, 2011
Thursday April 1 Maundy Thursday
We have received the gift of life and all the great things God has given along with it. But have we taken our lives, Jesus, and his crucifixion and resurrection for granted?
The daily problems, unhappy occurrences, tears, and pain create in us a weariness, a despair and dissatisfaction toward life. We begin to wish we were like turtles with a shell for retreat whenever life’s path becomes rugged. We are unable or unwilling to put the joys, beauty, freedom, reassurance of friends in perspective – the hard days are far more easily remembered than those of harmony.
We find ourselves saying, “Take back your gift,” rather than “Thank you for the dance of life.” Commercializing of Easter may be one such way of keeping ourselves at a distance with the realities of Jesus’ death; the value which God placed upon our lives.
There is good reason for us to celebrate Easter, but may we also contemplate the importance of life and rejoice in the experience of living!
Dance, then, wherever you may be.
“I am the Lord of the Dance,” said he.
“I’ll live in you if you live in me.
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance,” said he.
Janice Erenrich, 1975
Friday April 2 Good Friday
I know of only one response. It’s awfully simple and it’s been said so much that maybe it doesn’t mean to us what it should. This is the GOOD NEWS that Christ came to share.
God loves you.
God is with you always.
God cares about you and what happens to you.
We say it in church frequently.
I pray that the depth of these few words is not lost in their simplicity. When things are out of our control, and frustration reigns, we can rest in the truth of these phrases.
We are NEVER alone.
Charlie Fry, 2008
3 Holy Saturday
Let our love for God and His Son shine in our lives and faces. It is the first sign of a Christian. There are so many places Christ wishes us to go to and s many good deeds He wants us to do. He has to rely on us to see that His presence in the world is continued.
Every time you give a little of yourself to others, God gives himself to you.
Fred and George Ann McKinney, 1990
Sunday April 4 Resurrection Sunday
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. 2 Look, there was a great earthquake, for an angel from the Lord came down from heaven. Coming to the stone, he rolled it away and sat on it. 3 Now his face was like lightning and his clothes as white as snow. 4 The guards were so terrified of him that they shook with fear and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here, because he’s been raised from the dead, just as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him. 7 Now hurry, go and tell his disciples, ‘He’s been raised from the dead. He’s going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ I’ve given the message to you.” Matthew 28:1-7
I wonder when the tomb ‘became’ empty.
Was it before, or after the angel rolled the stone away?
I like considering that it was before. I like the idea that
an angel rolling the stone away was not for the benefit of Jesus (so he could
get out) but for the benefit of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the first
witnesses of the empty tomb, the first witnesses of the resurrected Christ. After
the women hear from the angel,
they rush to tell the disciples, and on the way, Jesus meets them.
Grace upon grace. Grace upon grace.
The incredible grace of the resurrection, presented without asking.
Such is the grace of God, who makes a way where there is
and who shows us the way.
Of course, we are asked to be witnesses, and God joins us
in that as well:
“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
God bless you, dear ones, and God send you and go with you.
We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
Pastor Kerry, Easter 2021